At its most basic level, Plantar Fasciitis is inflammation of the thick band of tissue, or fascia, that runs along the bottom of your foot from the heel bone to your toes. Stress on this area can cause small tears to the fascia, which then becomes inflamed as daily activity continues to stress the arch of the foot. Damage to the fascia causes pain which is most frequently and excruciatingly felt in the morning with your first few steps of the day, and can also be felt during activity.
Whenever you stand, walk, or run, your feet absorb the stress of your body weight. This stress, also called load, builds on the arch of your foot. When the cycle of injury and inflammation goes unhealed, your body creates scar tissue. This abnormal tissue has a few problems. First, it occupies more space than healthy tissue, causing you to feel discomfort. Second, it has a non-linear shape, making it weaker than healthy tissue, which is smooth, aligned, and able to withstand more load.
Scar tissue build-up causes pain, and your body experiences that pain in your foot whenever it's overloaded. Because scar tissue is also weaker, the more you stress your plantar fascia, the more it continues to cause pain and dysfunction. This leads to a painful vicious cycle of tissue breakdown and weakening of your foot.
While some cases of foot and heel pain seem to develop out of nowhere, clinicians have identified a few risk factors for developing Plantar Fasciitis. Individuals with a higher body mass index or those who have recently increased weight bearing activity are more likely to experience inflammation in their Plantar Fascia. (Source 1) Due to these exacerbating factors, or just through day-to-day load, inflammation of the Plantar Fascia often becomes a chronic issue, with pain lasting for months or years. Our patients previously had symptoms ranging from a constant ache in the bottom of their foot, to stabbing pain in their heel that gets worse after walking or running.
Plantar Fasciitis is very painful, but luckily, its basic mechanical causes lend themselves to effective, non-invasive, non-chemical treatment. An ideal treatment will attack the root causes of pain by breaking up painful scar tissue with massage, reducing load on the arch with a brace, and increasing the lower body’s ability to handle the stress of daily activity through strengthening exercises. The Alleviate System incorporates these proven methodologies to directly address and prevent Plantar Fasciitis pain.
(Source 1) Heel Pain—Plantar Fasciitis: Revision 2014
Robroy L. Martin, Todd E. Davenport, Stephen F. Reischl, Thomas G. McPoil, James W. Matheson, Dane K. Wukich, Christine M. McDonough, Roy D. Altman, Paul Beattie, Mark Cornwall, Irene Davis, John DeWitt, James Elliott, James J. Irrgang, Sandra Kaplan, Stephen Paulseth, Leslie Torburn, James Zachazewski, and Joseph J. Godges
Journal of Orthopaedic & Sports Physical Therapy 2014 44:11, A1-A33